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The Roundup for July 11, 2012

Good evening! Alexander Hamilton is a fascinating historical character who made an indelible imprint on the US in its earliest days. He and Jefferson clashed, particularly over some of Hamilton’s policies as Secretary of the Treasury, and neither Adams nor Jefferson trusted him. Hamilton finally ran afoul of Aaron Burr, Jefferson’s running mate at the time. Today marks the anniversary of their famous duel in 1804 which ended Burr’s political career and Hamilton’s life.

International Developments

? Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman has said that Pakistan is not giving any “go-ahead to the United States for launching drone attacks on its territory . . ..” She also discussed the doctor, Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA track bin Laden.

? What does this do to that the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend thing? “Taliban Commander: ‘At least 70 Percent Of The Taliban Are Angry At Al Qaeda'”.

? Oh, noes: “Silvio Berlusconi set to run again to become Italian prime minister.”

International Economics

? Next week, representatives from HSBC Holdings of London will appear before the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to “apologize” that it’s anti-money laundering controls have been so “lax”. Should be interesting to observe the gullibility level of our Senators.

? And there’s more: “Barclays chief Bob Diamond could be brought before [the US] Congress . . ..” The Senate Banking Committee and the House FInancial Services Committee are both “considering” asking Bob over.

? “Manchester United, the English soccer team . . . is filing to go public in the United States.” They settled on the US “which has long been criticized for its harsh rules surrounding I.P.O.’s, [but] is now the place where foreign companies go to avoid regulation.” Essentially, they are using the JOBS act to avoid transparency.

Money Matters USA

? Thomas Hoenig, member of the Board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says “A revival of the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking, is ‘absolutely necessary; to protect the U.S. financial system . . ..”

? “USA Presbyterian Church Takes Step Toward Divestment From For-Profit Health Insurance Companies”.

Politics USA

? Mitt Romney fibbing? According to Security Exchange Commission filings, he listed his “principal occupation” as “Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc” in July 2000 and Feb. 2001, though he’s said he vacated that position in 1999.

? Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner (OH) supposedly “hates the farm bill” so it’s expected to be “headed nowhere fast.”

? “The House Ethics Committee is letting Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) off the hook” since, you know, “other members of Congress file inaccurate financial disclosure reports, too.” What didn’t Buchanan disclose? Oh, just “17 corporate positions in his filings.”

? Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed two complaints against CA Republican Representative Darrell Issa alleging he has “violated federal law by including material from a sealed wiretap application in the Congressional Record.”

? Wonder what the next step will be? FL Secretary of State will release “a database of 180,000 voters whose citizenship is in question.” They wanted to use the list to prevent people from voting, but have now said they’re just going to release the list and not act on it. Uh-huh.

? The District of Columbia has now established limits on “the circumstances under which local law enforcement is required to hold individuals at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is going to propose a similar ordinance, and last week the CA Senate approved the Trust Act along the same lines (it goes to the Assembly next).

? The American Civil Liberties Union and others filed a lawsuit “challenging a secret program by the Los Angeles Sheriff‘s Department to conceal evidence of deputy assaults on Men’s Central Jail detainees from criminal defense counsel . . . [and] prohibiting disclosure of favorable evidence to criminal defendants . . ..” Potentially affects a large number of cases.

Working for A Living

? Good graph in this article showing that the largest US corporations threw 2.9 million people in the US out of jobs while “hiring 2.4 million people overseas.”

? Congress passed it last month and President Obama signed it Friday–“A new law will let companies contribute billions of dollars less to their workers’ pension funds, raising concerns about weakening the plans that millions of Americans count on for retirement.”

? Scranton, PA, must “pay employees full wages“, according to a Lackawanna County judge. Scranton’s mayor had imposed minimum wage on all employees, but unions challenged that action. Update: “Scranton ignores judge’s ruling, cuts worker pay to minimum wage”. Unions have filed for contempt hearing.

? Ever heard of Drew Greenblatt? He shows up over and over in news stories all over the place, spreading around anti-labor talking points from “the powerful DC trade lobby”, the National Association of Manufacturers.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Another one: NE Republican Governor Dave Heineman says his state “cannot afford the expansion of the Medicaid program . . . but stopped short of saying” the state would reject it. He’s refused to send the state health director to Thursday’s meeting organized by state senators “because it is an organizational meeting with advocacy groups that support an expansion of Medicaid.”

? “Did Republican Governors Need the Supreme Court Decision to Resist Medicaid?” Jake Blumgart raises a very intriguing question, recognizing that the federal government has never withheld its share of Medicaid funding from a state.

? Philadelphia’s attempted ban on religious groups providing food to the homeless in city parks is in federal court now. Mayor Nutter testified that “public feedings along the Parkway . . . could rob homeless people of dignity, spread food-borne disease, and degrade the park with trash and human waste.” Groups providing the food are also very concerned about upcoming state budget cuts, “including . . . [ending] general-assistance benefits for 60,000 single adults, half of whom are in Philadelphia.”

Latin America

? “An indigenous leader in Colombia has urged the security forces and Colombia’s largest rebel group, Farc, to take their fight elsewhere.” About 1,000 of the “Nasa, Guambiano and Paez tribes destroyed trenches built by the police to defend their police station” then they marched to FARC camps and told them to pack up their camps and get out within two weeks, or “we’ll pack them up for them.”

? “Bolivian President Evo Morales has been re-elected head of Bolivia’s coca growers union, a post he has held since 1996.” The union’s committees have devised three rules for growing coca, which President Morales urged the coca growers to abide by.

? So far, three farmers in Mexico’s Michoacan have been disappeared by “armed men believed to be members of the security forces” between 2008 and this past May. Locals believe the police are doing this in order to try and drive people off their land. Amnesty International is demanding the investigation.

? On July 3, two US Drug Enforcement Administration agents participated in an operation involving the crash of a small plane allegedly transporting cocaine. One of the US DEA agents “fatally shot a Brazilian national” while seizing the cocaine. This is the second time the US DEA has admitted that its agents killed suspected drug traffickers in Honduras.

? A Colombian man has been convicted of spying on Nicaragua and could be sentenced to 17-1/2 years in prison. He “plead guilty to espionage and disclosure of state secrets” during closed-door proceedings. Curious lack of details (who was he spying for? why was he spying? etc.).

Break Time

? How the Libor scandal affects you.

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